Nigerians in the Diaspora contributed 83 percent of the Federal Government budget and 61 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, in 2018.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation-SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the 2019 National Diaspora Day in Abuja, organised with the theme: The power of Nigerian Diaspora for national development.
Mr Mustapha described the theme as very apt as it captures the role of the Diaspora as a potent force for national development.
“These monies are presently utilised as social security funds to families, pay school fees, feeding allowances, hospital bills, etc”.
“Some of it is invested in housing and estate development, hospital projects, schools and commercial enterprises”, Mustapha said.
The SGF however, noted with displeasure that the money was never properly documented and analysed for impact.
“There is an urgent need therefore, to galvanise this into an investable fund for development. At a forum like this, it is necessary to articulate a position on this and mobilise for appropriate action,” he emphasised.
Mr Mustapha said the day was set aside in recognition of the contributions of Nigerians in Diaspora and to celebrate the Diaspora, who have achieved feats in various fields of human endeavour.
“It also aims to review areas requiring improvements, encourage interactions and dialogue on matters relating to the Diaspora”, he said.
Mr Mustapha said it is also important for the Diasporas to key into the administration’s Economic Recover and Growth Plan, ERGP, and return to serve the nation.
“The Diasporas being at the cutting edge of technology and appropriately exposed at the level of international businesses, are the right connectors to propel this initiative”, he said.
Mr Mustapha commended President Muhammadu Buhari as the most Diaspora-friendly President in the history of Nigeria.
“Let me also echo Mr President’s admonishment to you here. We will protect every Nigerian anywhere in the world as a responsible and caring Government with all it takes. Let me encourage you to be patriotic and good ambassadors of Nigeria to the world,” he added.
Fight for Justice
For her part, Chairperson of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the Nigerian Government will continue to fight for justice for every Nigerian everywhere in the world.
She however, warned the Diasporas that anyone found wanting will be made to face the wrath of the law of their host countries.
Honourable Dabiri-Erewa also enjoined them to move the celebration from the level of talk shows to practical, by contributing their expertise to the development of the nation.
“Good enough, we have a Diaspora policy that will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council, which will help to guide all in the Diaspora on what to do,” she explained.